Authentic Missions and the Hotel Nikko

October 5, 2022

Authentic Missions and the Hotel Nikko

I have a special memory from when I first started my career. I was a new associate in a law firm - working in a satellite office of a firm based in Chicago. The firm held a company-wide party in downtown Chicago at the Hotel Nikko. This was completely paralyzing to me. I remember walking into the main ballroom filled with anxiety. Because I was in a satellite office I didn’t know many people. Those that I had met seemed smarter, wittier, and more sophisticated. I was different than most in that I lived in a small town, was married, we had a baby boy, and a night out was a drive-through with a meal that included a toy. My colleagues lived in or near the city, most who were my age were not married and were well versed in fine dining, the arts, and a downtown lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, they were great people, but I didn’t feel liked I belonged. Although I remember little about the company’s event, I can remember vivid details about our stay in the Hotel Nikko.

After the company event (calling it a night as quick as possible), we drove back to our town, grabbed our boy from the babysitter and came back to spend the night. Everything about the Hotel just felt right. They parked our car for us; the lobby was beautiful; our room was immaculate with perfectly folded sheets overlooking an amazing view. I can remember how much I loved having our budget constrained family together in such a beautiful place. We woke up the next morning to a crisp Chicago fall day. On my boss’ nickel and approval, we ordered room service and had pancakes with real syrup from a cool glass container in bed. With our son between us we spent the morning watching cartoons before we had to drive back to our apartment. To this day I get goosebumps remembering how perfect the morning was. We kept (I think we were allowed to) the glass jar that held the maple syrup. For years our son would put and play with buttons in the jar. That glass jar sits on the shelf in our family room. Our 12 hour stay at the Hotel Nikko was one small, but sweet, experience that connected our family together.

Years later I was doing a presentation about creating work experiences and the Hotel Nikko came to mind. At this point of my career I had been part of organizations that lived their vision and missions and others that didn’t. Curious, I looked up the mission statement for the Hotel Nikko, which says:

“Subarashee Omoide” - “Fantastic Memories.”

Goosebumps returned. That short sentence augured in the importance of an organization that lives its mission. Our Hotel Nikko experience had become a fantastic memory. From my own experiences working with an organization that lived its mission, I firmly believe that our Hotel memory was brought about because of a collection of people that understood that mission and executed it. Somewhere in that mix was a leader that lived the mission, trusted people to play their roles, and pushed decision-making into the hands of the employees. From the people that parked the car, prepared the room, designed the rooms, cooked the food, and paid attention to the small details - like a glass maple syrup container - they were propelled to accomplish their mission and were trusted to do so. Mission accomplished, and my sincerest thanks for being an important memory for our family.

From your friends at BestDayHR.